“If I then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet”
How often do we make an issue about our dignity not being respected or acknowledged? We may not always make this a public issue, but nevertheless, we feel slighted because we were not recognised as being important, not given pride of place, or precedence. We go away, hurt and perhaps angry.
The task of washing the feet of guests entering a house in the time of Jesus was given to the lowest slave. In the house where the Passover was being celebrated by Jesus and the apostles, there was no such servant, and the apostles were so busy arguing about which of them was ‘the greatest’, that not one of them would have stooped to do this menial task!
Jesus did what none of them was prepared to do. If anyone was able to ‘stand on his dignity’ it was Jesus, Lord of all, and yet He lovingly washed the feet of His disciples. The lesson was that there was only one form of greatness to be embraced, and that is the greatness of service to others. Jesus gives us this model and, if we truly love Him, then we too will offer ourselves to others in acts of simple service, putting aside our pride and dignity in the process! By doing this, we will help others to know the love that is showered upon us by Him who is LOVE!
It is not without significance that it was here, at what we now refer to as the Last Supper, that Jesus instituted the Sacraments of Eucharist and Holy Orders. In doing this Jesus demonstrates by his own example that both the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders are about service. While, sadly, we are not able to receive Holy Communion today, we need to realise, accept and commit ourselves to making our reception of Holy Communion an act of willingness to serve one another.
In addition to the Last Supper, tonight also commemorates the arrest of Jesus and his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Spend at least 10 minutes tonight in silent prayer. Imagine yourself with Jesus at Gethsemane. Ask for the gifts of loyalty, faithfulness and humble service.
Jesus, lead me in Your way of service and love, and let me do it without thought of self. Amen.